"Q&A With Debra Reneé Byrd: Fractured Princess"

"Q&A With Debra Reneé Byrd: Fractured Princess"

(Photo Courtesy of Debra Reneé Byrd)

Author Bio:

1. What was the writing process like for 'Fractured Princess'? 

The process was a little long. Up until Fractured I had been writing picture books, then short stories, then fan fiction, all of which were episodic and obviously shorter. Fractured Princess was my very first full-length novel, and it was high fantasy, which I had never written before. I knew how the story started and eventually how it ended, but it was a long time before I figured out what the middle would look like. At one point, I had to let the characters develop to a point that they would "tell" me how the story went.


2. Have you ever felt like a fractured princess? If so, how did you overcome your setbacks?     

Yes, my sisters and I lost our mom to cancer in 2020. That definitely broke us, and it's not a club you necessarily want to be a part of when you feel like there's more to come for a parent. We're doing better, but it's safe to say I was very fractured for the first six months after she passed. Fortunately, I'm healing. You don't necessarily overcome grief. It just shrinks with time.


3. Representation matters, how important was it for you to tell a story of a black Princess?     

It became more important to me a few drafts in. When I started writing Fractured Princess, Jonnie had a different name and face. I modeled her after Dagger from the game Final Fantasy IX (9).  When I stopped and seriously contemplated, "What if I made her brown," I was actually in the middle of writing a blog post about it. And as I was linking a picture of Kerry Washington as an example, I said, "This could be the face."

I was only writing Jonnie as a white character because that's all I saw in media and on book covers, so I decided that I would make Jonnie a black, teenage girl, and she became someone I could relate to and that other teenage black girls who love fantasy could hopefully relate to as well. I've vowed that my main characters would always be black women my complexion or darker so we can see ourselves as fantasy heroes.


4. Who were some authors that you admired growing up?     

I wanted to write horror stories because of Stephen King and Christopher Pike, and I loved the darkness of Edgar Allen Poe's stories. In college I fell in love with Octavia Butler's work. She introduced me to the world of sci-fi/fantasy writing from a Black perspective. I loved Fledgling so much that I wrote a fan fiction dedicated to it.


5. When did you get some your start as a writer? And how has your journey been as an author so far?     

I started writing when I was 7. My teacher gave us blank books to write a story in, and I kept writing after that. The journey as an author has been interesting. I self-published Fractured Princess in 2019 and didn't hope for much out of it, but a mom in the UK bought it for her daughter, and that was a big surprise.

When Chase Bolling at Wahida Clark's SFF/For the Culture reached out to bring me onto the team, that was another big shock, and things are starting to roll at a pace I didn't expect.


6. Overall, what do hope readers get from this book?     

I hope readers will be able to dive into the world of Teorre and just enjoy this adventure from a different gaze and want to see what happens next.


7. What's your best advice for getting over writer's block?     

Don't listen to the people who say, "just write." That's not practical. Do what works for you to work through it. It looks different for everyone. If forcing it doesn't work, then don't.


8. What's the best book you have read in 2021?     

I finished N.K. Jemisin's Far Sector comic book series this year, and I absolutely loved it. It's a great addition to the Green Lantern universe that speaks to injustices we see today.


9. What can readers expect in future installments of this series?     

Readers can expect more surprise moments, more battles, and answers to the big questions.


Places To Find More From This Author:

Twitter: @DebTheAuthor

Instagram: @debreneebyrd

Facebook: Debreneebyrd

Website: www.thewritemage.com


Get Your Copy of Fractured Princess Today!

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